There we were – a team of four committed crazy fools racing along rocky mountain trails on heavy motorcycles looking for a red zip-tie around the base of some twig in the middle of the Arizona mountains.
With a 1:70,000 map this can be pretty challenging. Perhaps that’s why the other 3 decided they had other adventures to conquer on Sunday.
His name was Johnny
On Sunday I was teamed up with a man who knew his stuff off-road and had a plan. His partner from the day before had crashed and, while physically being well, decided not to ride the second day, (style point: don’t read the map WHILE riding). Fortunately, Johnny’s partner on Saturday had come up with a great plan to get to the locations in a format I could easily understand (and will use in future events). We sat through the briefing, grabbed a Spot locator, and headed out looking for more red zip-ties.
We obviously made our social media posts, and collected trash along the way. You get points for being socially and environmentally conscious too! YAY!
What is this Madness, or HUMM?
It’s Mountain Madness! Consider it a scavenger hunt crossed with orienteering for enduro and adventure motorcycle enthusiasts! Or, as it is written on the trophies “The Premiere Motorcycle Orienteering Event In The World”
The event is put on by a group called Horizon’s Unlimited. Put together that’s Horizon’s Unlimited Mountain Madness, or HUMM. HUMM is an opportunity to put your map plotting, reading, and recognition skills along with your motorcycle skills to the test. Not to mention your ability to play ‘go seek’ with red zip-ties.
What is Horizon’s Unlimited?
There are a couple things that have really helped to foster the growth of around the world motorcycle travel over the past many years, and no not I am not talking about Charlie and Ewan’s “Long Ways…”. They are newcomers to the game.
The first to major impact to foster the community is Ted Simon. He really had large impact with his book Jupiter’s Travels. He was the first one to really write about traveling around the world on a motorcycle that captivated people.
Next is a website that has been a significant tool to really help people while planning a trip and most importantly while on the road. This is a forum that people have shared their knowledge on a variety of topics from border crossings, to vehicle inspections, to motorcycle friendly camps/hotels/etc. to stay at, to the closest motorcycle mechanic when in some tiny village in Mongolia. That website is HorizonsUnlimited.com!
They are also on Facebook, and it is not joke. I have seen a post from a traveler in a tiny remote town in Mongolia request to know where they can find a mechanic and a place to get new tires. What do you think the likelihood of getting a helpful response would be? The response was within an hour or so and provided detailed assistance of who and where. It is absolutely unreal in my mind what is possible with a tool like this at your side.
To put a name with Horizon’s Unlimited is easy: Grant and Susan Johnson, and of course their many friends, partners, contributors, etc. But it was these two who took the idea of the forum and made it real.
Why HUMM Mountain Madness for a RTW group?
(RTW = ‘Round The World)
Over the weekend Grant mentioned that he considered it a fun way to support the community. The community has an opportunity to get together face-to-face in a location not on the other side of the world, practice map skills, and practice off-road skills in a fun and challenging environment. My map skills are pretty good. I was interested in putting in some off-road fun time and meeting fellow motorcycle travelers.
With Johnny and I following a good plan we were able to find red zip-ties, enjoy amazing scenery, be with great people, and walk-away with 2nd place in the Multiple-Cylinder Map class! We were both pretty stunned at the awards dinner! That may simply have been due to being tired and exhausted. LOL
It was a thoroughly challenging and exhilarating way to go to spend a great weekend. Plus, the awards dinner on Sunday evening was a nice completion to the weekend. I love yummy food!
There are also single-cylinder and GPS classes.
and There’s More…
There are two more HUMM events in the Americas this year, and several in Europe.
And we’re off…
We spent the next few days dialing in the RV and resting in the solitude of no cell phone and no internet next to beautiful Willow Lake in Prescott, AZ.